How Are Diabetes and High Blood Pressure Related?
My husband has high blood pressure, which he has refused to treat with medication so far. In addition, he was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I've read that the combination of high blood pressure and diabetes can be dangerous, but I can't remember why. How are diabetes and blood pressure related?
About one-third of adults in the United States (about 70 million) have high blood pressure. Diabetes increases the risk of high blood pressure, with up to 75 percent of people with diabetes also having high blood pressure. Both high blood pressure and diabetes increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and damage to the blood vessels and kidneys.
Type 2 diabetes risk factors are similar to the risk factors for high blood pressure, and include ethnicity, family history, age, and lifestyle, among other things. Managing diabetes and high blood pressure includes weight control, proper diet, and exercise.
One way the body controls blood pressure is through the dilation (widening) and constriction (narrowing) of blood vessels. Both people with diabetes and those who have high blood pressure are at a higher risk for atherosclerosis, in which plaque builds up in the blood vessels, making them less able to dilate and constrict as needed.
High blood pressure and diabetes can also cause kidney damage. The kidneys help with blood pressure control by filtering out excess salt and water from the body and controlling several hormones that also regulate blood pressure. Damage to the kidneys causes further problems with blood pressure.